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Facebook Changes & Artists | 4 Crucial Things You Need To Know…

by Helen Aldous

Facebook has undergone a RADICAL overhaul over the past few days. Changes, first outlined by Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg at the f8 conference in San Francisco have already begun to roll out over the site and many more will be coming online in the coming weeks.

Many artists use Facebook as a platform for promoting their artwork so what will the new changes mean if you have an artists Facebook Page? What do artists need to know about the new Facebook?

Lets take a look at some of the new changes.

The power in the blue corner.

Facebook now marks stories that it thinks are important to you by tagging them with a blue corner in your news feed. Users have the power to “untag” these prioritised stories in their feed by simply clicking on the blue corner, meaning that Facebook then demotes similar items in your feed.

By this change, Facebook are taking a massive shift in direction, in that this will selectively weed out boring, irrelevant or annoying posts. Users can easily demote and remove all those annoying updates from friends about requests for Farmville stuff and tedious information about what they had for tea. Hoorah

What this means for artists.

However, whilst welcome in many ways, this change can also mean your work gets removed from the feed if you aren’t engaging enough or if you bombard people with things they aren’t interested in.

It will no longer be enough to accumulate loads of LIKES and then bombard your LIKERS with low quality posts. You are going to have to produce great engaging content to earn your place in the news feed.

Posting interesting content that engages people is now more crucial than ever if you and your art aren’t going to end up talking into empty space…

Too much information!!

The news ticker in the right hand column is a second by second relay of exactly what you are up to. It shows your comments on friends posts {who aren’t neccesarily friends of the people viewing} and also, will soon show any games you may be playing or music you are listening to. In short it overshares everything you do to pretty much everyone, everywhere.

Facebook will also be introducing Facebook Timelines in the next few weeks. This means that everything you do on Facebook will be evolved into a searchable personal history timeline stretching way back into the past. This video explains the concept.  Timelines could be a pretty cool feature but may have some drawbacks too.

What this means for artists.

Now, more than ever, it is crucial to be yourself and also to behave professionally. If you are using Facebook to promote your business it is essential that you are aware of how you may appear to others. Be careful about what you post and do as it is becoming even harder to be totally sure exactly who is viewing your actions. Keep it professional at all times.

Now may be a good time to go into your photo history and delete or detag the pictures of you being sick in a bush at a student party.

Build a shed in the walled garden…

Facebook is making these big changes in an attempt to be even more immersive. You will be able to do an increasing amount of actions, such as listening to music or watching films, WITHIN the Facebook framework. The changes are all designed to make Facebook even more addictive than it curently is [if this is possible].

This is the “Walled Garden” effect, where users are encouraged to stay in one place, within the same site, and never leave.

What this means for artists.

This means that it is becoming even more important to have a presence within the Facebook framework. If you don’t already have an artists Facebook page, now would be a good time to create one. If you do have one, spend a bit of time ensuring it is up to scratch and contains great content. You need to make sure you have access to the walled garden and aren’t left outside banging on the door.

But build a house outside it…

Not all the changes have been popular with Facebook users. There have been many online groups formed to protest against the way Facebook rolls out changes without consultation and doesn’t listen to user feedback, coupled with concerns over Facebook’s attitude to user privacy. It is hard to predict if Facebook can continue it’s meteoric rise or if it’s progress will be derailed somewhere along the way…

A quick glance over the shoulder to some of the internet casualties of the past, including the once mighty MySpace, AOL, Digg &  IBM illustrate that Facebook could quite easily stumble and lose ground to other social destinations like Google +, especially if they keep annoying their users every few months.

As every James Bond villain knows – world domination is by no means guaranteed.

What this means for artists.

Now, more than ever it is ESSENTIAL to base your web presence on YOUR OWN website, on YOUR OWN DOMAIN, outside of Facebook.

Whatever Facebook’s fortunes over the coming years, your own site is your home on the internet, on your own land. It is the most important piece of the jigsaw in promoting your work and will be there for you, whatever social media platform comes to the fore.

Enjoy the fun of Facebook, and use it as an extension to promote your work,  but build your main foundations on the solid ground of your own website and you can’t go far wrong…

 

What do you think of the new Facebook changes? Exciting? Frustrating? Let me know in the comments.

 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori McNee November 24, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Thanks for a great post Helen. As you probably know, I spend more time on Twitter. I find it to be a better networking platform with a broader audience. I use FB to keep up with friends and like-minded people. The changes have been a bit annoying though…thanks for the update and the video link :)

Lori

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Helen Aldous November 27, 2011 at 9:12 am

Thanks Lori ;-)

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Christine Marsh October 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Heavenly Helen,

I was very resistant to Facebook, but finally made friends with it…found a balance and finally blocked all the ridiculous game requests. I was having some results.

Since the last two months, interactions have dropped off. It is partly my fault, but I think the Facebook changes have mysteriously caused this.

As much as I studied and even bought social marketing programs, I still felt like I was shooting wobbly arrows at targets I could not see. I just can’t seem to ‘get it’ currently, so I have been focusing more on my web site and also getting out there to meet and connect with people in person, because I have realized I sell more art that way.

I would love to give my media to someone who ‘gets it’ and doesn’t charge me a million dollars, who can see the targets I can’t, and have them make the posts for me. :-)

Thank You!
Sending large crates of joy fruit…
Creative Christine

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Helen Aldous October 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Don’t worry Christine. Its not just you. Facebook is a very imprecise medium and has a fairly low interaction rate for people trying to promote art.

People aren’t really visiting Facebook to buy art. They are there primarily to look at pictures of their mate looking daft at a party whilst drunk and although they may look at other things, including artwork they like, and may buy, that isn’t their main motivation for going to Facebook so it is going to be less precise than other channels.

You sound like you are doing exactly right. Enjoying Facebook for what it can offer and also focussing on your own site and networking. Perfect. Facebook is great for helping with the networking side of it too.

I think its a good idea to focus on your own site, with Facebook as a side shoot off that. Your own site always comes first. Im not anti facebook at all [being quite addicted to it!} but you have to keep the priorities right.

This is a really interesting article about this whole issue
6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Put All Your Eggs In The Facebook Basket

Thanks for the crate of joy Fruit! ;-)

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Christine Marsh October 7, 2011 at 1:16 am

Harmonious Helen,

Thank You for the response.
I agree.
I know some people are successful
with Facebook. Perhaps they are lucky and/or
super persistent and spend 9 hours a day there.
I commend them. That would cause me ‘brain melt’.
:-]
I do love Facebook for some of the wonderful
interactions I have had with people I otherwise
would never have ‘met’ across the world.

Sending Satchels of Stardust…
Creative Christine

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Helen Aldous October 7, 2011 at 10:02 am

Yes, it is easy to spend TOO much time on it for the results that you get out. Its making sure you spend the time productively on what brings best results.
As you say, It is great for connecting with interesting people you would otherwise never meet. That is wonderful.
Im interested to see how Facebook develops in the next year

Satchels of stardust back to you. Have a lovely weekend

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Deborah September 30, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I’m with Tara – I don’t like the frequent unannounced changes. I don’t like FB deciding what is of interest to me and what isn’t. I’m also tempted to ditch the whole thing, but as an artist, feel that I ‘have’ to use FB as another platform to get my work out there… somewhere…

Since I don’t have a lot of time to spend on my FB page anyway and now it seems that even more time is required to not disappear, I wonder if there’s really any point for me having a page at all.
Deborah recently posted..Come to Festifall in Chapel Hill This Sunday

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Helen Aldous October 3, 2011 at 10:26 am

I wonder if more and more people are starting to feel like this Deborah.

As always, keep up your own site [yours has some beautiful work on btw] and then you can always walk away from Facebook if you want with no issues.

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Deborah October 4, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Yes I’d love to know that too… sometimes I feel like I’m the only clutz out there not able to keep up with all the social media stuff.

And thank you for your kind comment on my art!

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Antonio Basso September 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Great conclusion. The point is that I has always been like this. You have to own your content, email addresses, and try as much as you can to send people to your web or blog. And as you mention, you really need to post interesting content in order to be seen, but this fact has alwasy been like this. If you want to be seen you need to do something valuable, interesting, different, etc…

Great post

Antonio Basso
http://www.yasoypintor.com

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Helen Aldous September 26, 2011 at 10:42 am

Thanks Tara.

Yes, it is a very double edged sword. Fun and extremely useful but with some definite flaws. I’m intrigued to see where it will be in 2 years time. I’m interested to see how it all pans out ;-)

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Tara September 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

Thanks for writing this post Helen – I’m definitely one of the people who is fed up with FB changing so frequently and unannounced. For me it’s becoming less user friendly and I’m seriously considering not bothering with it any more. Which is a shame as I communicate with several friends around the world this way and it’s really great to have a place to easily go and see their photos and what they’re doing. It was good to get a better understanding of what’s going on with it and why; I also wonder how much longer it’s going to be so popular though…

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